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Smartphones account for a third of 1 billion connected devices - Comcast WiFi report

The cable company's study of Wi-Fi use across its network showed smartphones continue to dominate, but connected fitness equipment and wearables are seeing the most growth.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

Comcast published its first-ever WiFi Trends Report, a study of how users across its Xfinity home broadband network are using Wi-Fi to connect their devices to the Web. 

The new study found almost 1 billion unique devices connected to Xfinity gateways in 2021, a 12X increase over the figure recorded in 2018. 

The most common devices to connect were smartphones, with 346.9 million unique devices having reached the web through Xfinity routers during the year, more than one-third of all devices connected. 

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In a distant second place was tablets, with 150 million, followed by 119 million streaming devices. 

Interestingly, smartwatches and fitness trackers were next up with 49 million, with 841,000 pieces of connected fitness equipment also helping this category become the fastest-growing type of devices connected to Xfinity hardware. Connected exercise machines like Peloton Bikes and their ilk saw a 93X jump over 2018.

Somewhat surprisingly, wearables and exercise trackers were trailed by the 36.7 million game consoles Comcast detected. This is even more surprising given the fact that Comcast recorded, on average, more than one gaming console per household and a 15X increase over the number of consoles detected in 2018. 

Rounding out the top five was the Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as medical appliances, certain smart home devices, and other connected sensors. 

Looking at the human component of the devices being used to connect to its Xfinity network, Comcast asked survey respondents to self-identify as one of five user types: Streamers, Tech-Savvy home managers, Gamers, Worker bees, and Creators. 

Entertainment was clearly the need for the largest subset of users, with 41% choosing Streamer to describe themselves, followed by Tech-savvy home managers at 23%, Gamers at 17%, Worker bees at 14%, and Creators at just 5%. 

Those same respondents seem to be planning to continue to expand their Wi-Fi connected device collections, with 72% telling Comcast that they will add more devices to their home networks in the coming year. 44% apparently plan to bring a new smart TV or A/V system home, while 27% are focused on smart home technologies like lighting and climate control. 

Meanwhile, the increasingly popular connected fitness category attracted 20% of respondents to plan additional growth, while 16% expect to add Wi-Fi connected toys or drones to their hardware. 

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